I am a neighborhood officer on Madison's South Side in an area with high crime and high levels of poverty. In the center of my neighborhood is a park (Penn Park) that I am trying to fill with positive programming for the families and kids in the neighborhood as a way to enhance the community and push out the negative activity that often happens there. I have been trying to bring in a fantastic set of musicians that run a "culture coach" which develops talent in the neighborhood and gives them a chance to perform. These individuals also do "drum circles" during which neighborhood kids can come and learn to drum from musicians and are also mentored by these role models on life skills and positive behaviors. This is a means to bring the joy of music, the pride of developing a learned skill, the presence of positive role models, and positive interactions with law enforcement, to a population desperately in need of all of the above. The group I am looking to fund successfully does this in parks throughout Chicago and is eager to work in my neighborhood.
Funded by Madison, WI (July 2015)